Materials concerning the work of NSC staff members Leslie Janka and Margaret Vanderhye on NSC press and congressional relations. Included is foreign affairs press guidance provided to the White House Press Secretary, outgoing letters and memoranda, a small subject file, and memoranda of conversations and briefing papers for presidential meetings with members of Congress on foreign affairs and defense matters.

3.2 linear feet (ca. 6,400 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-118)

Open, but some materials continue to be national security classified and restricted. Access is governed by the donor’s deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, and National Archives and Records Administration regulations (36 CFR 1256).

Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

Prepared by William McNitt, January 1997, revised by Donna Lehman, June 2004
[s:\bin\findaid\nsc\nsc press and congressional liaison staff.doc]


Leslie Allan Janka

June 9, 1940 - Born, San Bernardino, CA

1962 - B.A. (economics), University of Redlands, Redlands, CA

1964 - M.A. (international affairs), School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

1964-67 - Graduate courses in public administration, management science, and statistics at American University and George Washington University

1964-68 - Management specialist, U.S. Information Agency

1968-71 - Assistant Dean, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

1971-75 - Staff Assistant, National Security Council

1975-76 - Senior Staff Member for Legislative and Public Affairs, National Security Council

1976-78 - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern, African, and South African Affairs, Office of International Security Affairs, Department of Defense

1978-83 - Consultant and lecturer specializing in Middle Eastern defense and international economic issues; associated with the government relations firm of Neill and Company, Washington, D.C.

Sept.-Oct. 1983 - Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs, White House

Margaret (Margi) E.G. Vanderhye

July 29, 1948 - Born

1970 - B.A. (political science), Northwestern University

1971-72 - Part-time research assistant to U.S. Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III

1972 - M.A. (international relations and economics), School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

1972-73 - Legislative research assistant to U.S. Senator John V. Tunney

1973-75 - Staff officer, Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy (Murphy Commission)

1975-76 - Staff assistant, National Security Council

After 1976 - Chair, Citizens Advisory Committee to the Northern Virginia 2010 Transportation Plan; President, Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions; President, Virginia Planning District Commission; member, Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board; member, Virginia Commission on Population, Growth and Development

1995- 2001 - Member, National Capital Planning Commission (appointed by President Clinton)


NSC Press and Congressional Liaison Staff Files is one of many subcollections that comprise the National Security Adviser Files.

Duties of Janka and Vanderhye
Leslie Janka and Margaret Vanderhye handled National Security Council (NSC) press and congressional liaison during the Ford administration. Janka served as staff assistant for press liaison from 1971 until February 1975, working out of an office on the ground floor of the White House West Wing. Around September 1974, he also began working on NSC congressional relations (apparently sharing these duties with Robert McFarlane for several months). Janka was promoted to Senior Staff Member for Legislative and Public Affairs in February 1975. Janka then moved from the West Wing of the White House to room 376A in the nearby Old Executive Office Building and hired Cathie DeSibour and Barbara Grabon (a secretary) to assist him.

After Janka’s promotion, Vanderhye took over both his press liaison duties and his old office in the basement of the White House. She served as staff assistant for press liaison until her departure in August 1976. Janka apparently resumed his press liaison role for August to October 1976 and then left the NSC to take a position in the Department of Defense. An NSC organization chart dating from late in the administration lists DeSibour as heading both press liaison and congressional liaison.

A key responsibility of the NSC press liaison officer was to provide substantive guidance on foreign policy issues to the President’s Press Secretary. This guidance kept him abreast of developments and prepared him for his daily press briefings. Another role was to coordinate and prepare foreign affairs/national security briefing materials for presidential press conferences and media interviews. Janka and Vanderhye also provided liaison between the White House and public affairs officers in the Departments of State and Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, United States Information Agency, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. From the files it appears that at various times Jon Howe, Peter Rodman, Robert McFarlane, Peter Burke, or Kathy Troia, from the nearby office housing the assistants to the National Security Adviser, filled in for or assisted Janka and Vanderhye.

As Senior Staff Member for Legislative and Public Affairs, Janka provided substantive foreign policy guidance to the White House Congressional Relations Office and legislative analysis to other NSC staff members. Janka took notes and produced memoranda of conversations for presidential meetings with congressional leaders and other members of Congress that concerned foreign affairs and defense matters.

Janka also represented the NSC on the administration’s Legislative Interdepartmental Group, which consisted of representatives of the various agencies involved in foreign affairs and national security matters and focused on legislation and the activities of Congress. In addition, Janka monitored Executive Branch public affairs activities, domestic and international, in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Scope and Content of the Materials
Three series in this collection document the work of Janka and Vanderhye on NSC press relations. The Press Guidance File contains materials they prepared for White House Press Secretaries Ron Ziegler, Jerald terHorst, and Ron Nessen to use during their press briefings, January 1973-August 1976. Included are questions likely to be asked by the news media, guidance on suggested answers, background information provided to give the Press Secretary a better understanding (with the provision that it not be shared with the press), and announcements to be made. Foreign policy issues that receive significant attention include the Vietnamese War and the Paris Peace Accords, Middle East conflicts including the Arab oil embargo and the civil war in Lebanon, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the civil war in Angola. The Subject File contains some materials similar to that in the Press Guidance File, but covering only August to October 1976.

The Chronological File contains some substantive items concerning foreign affairs and defense issues. Much of the series concerns interactions by Janka and Vanderhye with Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and members of the NSC staff; preparation of briefing materials for press conferences; handling of media interview requests; contacts with agency public affairs officers; and answering questions for the White House Press Secretary’s office. Significant items in the file include a translation of a Le Duc Tho press conference (June 14, 1973), memoranda of conversations covering a Kissinger dinner meeting with members of the State Department press corps (September 14, 1973) and a Scowcroft interview by Ann Compton of ABC (December 13, 1975), notes from a Kissinger deep backgrounder with the press about Vietnam (April 10, 1975), and the ribbon copy of a Scowcroft memo to the President (marked “The President has seen”) concerning Ronald Reagan’s statements about grain sales to the Soviet Union (March 24, 1976).

Three series contain materials on Janka’s congressional liaison work. The Congressional Meetings File contains briefing papers and memoranda of conversations for presidential meetings with congressional leaders and members of Congress. The Chronological File includes materials concerning legislation and congressional relations meetings between September 1974 and February 1975, including significant materials on Legislative Interdepartmental Group meetings of November 21, 1974 and February 7, 1975. No materials in this series dating from after February 1975 concern congressional relations, however. Some folders of Janka’s small Subject File also contain materials relating to Congress and to legislative matters.

This collection probably does not contain a complete set of all files maintained by Janka and Vanderhye during their NSC service, but these are the only files received by the Ford Library. The congressional relations material seems to be especially incomplete. The Ford Library staff has not discovered any explanation for these gaps.

Related Materials (January 1997)
National Security Adviser collections having related materials include the Presidential Subject File which contains a large sequence of material under the heading “Congressional,” the Legislative Interdepartmental Group File containing information on the meetings of that body, and the Memoranda of Conversations File which provides records of meetings between President Ford and various congressional delegations. The Robert C. McFarlane Files include some documents on legislative liaison and the Legislative Interdepartmental Group from the fall of 1974, and materials on interactions with members of Congress appear in the Program Analysis Staff Files. Among non-NSA collections, the Robert K. Wolthuis Files include minutes of several presidential meetings with Congressional leaders.

The Ron Nessen Papers contain substantive materials on all aspects of press relations; the Ron Nessen Files include a complete set of transcripts of the Press Secretary's daily briefings. The Edward J. Savage Files include press releases, transcripts of interviews, briefing guidance, briefing books and presidential press guidance relating to various foreign policy issues.


Press Guidance File, 1973-76.  (Boxes 1‑5, 2.0 linear feet)
Copies of memoranda, Q&A briefing papers, and background information submitted by Janka and Vanderhye to the White House Press Secretary. The series basically ends in August 1976, although material for one day in September appears. There are occasional unexplained gaps of several days duration for which the series contains no materials.

Janka prepared his briefing information in the form of virtually daily memoranda to the Press Secretary with the subject line “Morning Press Items.” Vanderhye continued the formal memoranda for a short time after assuming the position in February 1975, but eventually switched to a form cover memo with attached briefing sheets.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series

Chronological File, 1973-76. (Boxes 6‑7, 0.7 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, Q&A briefing sheets, and occasional briefing papers and memoranda of conversations. The file primarily concerns NSC press relations, but Janka’s congressional relations work is well documented for the period September 1974 to February 1975. In addition to materials drafted for their own signature, Janka and Vanderhye often drafted items for Scowcroft or Kissinger to sign (including some items addressed to the President, but also many responding to letters from the media or the general public). Copies or originals of incoming items are often attached to the carbons of outgoing letters. Sometimes originals of outgoing items addressed to other NSC staff members were returned to Janka and Vanderhye with comments and are filed here.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series

Janka Subject File, 1975-76.  (Boxes 7‑8, 0.3 linear feet)
Memoranda, briefing papers, and Q&A briefing sheets. Although some earlier materials appear in the file, the bulk of the material dates from 1976 and much of it is from the months of August to October.

Arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically thereunder

View container list for this series

Congressional Meetings File, 1974-76. (Box 8, 0.2 linear feet)
Case files containing memoranda of conversations (memcons) and briefing papers on presidential meetings with members of Congress, mostly on foreign affairs and defense issues.

Arranged chronologically by date of the meeting

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Press Guidance File

  • Jan.-Oct. 1973

Box 2 - Press Guidance File

  • Nov. 1973-Sept. 1974

Box 3 - Press Guidance File

  • Oct. 1974-July 1975

Box 4 - Press Guidance File

  • Aug. 1975-March 1976

Box 5 - Press Guidance File

  • April-Sept. 1976

Box 6 - Chronological File

  • Jan. 1973-Feb. 1975

Box 7 - Chronological File

  • March 1975-July 1976

Box 7 (Continued)- Janka Subject File

  • Africa, Sept. 1976
  • Arab Boycott, Aug.-Sept. 1976
  • China, Sept. 1976
  • CIA Oversight, Jan. 1975
  • Eastern Europe, Oct. 1976
  • ”Green Book Affair,” Sept. 1976
  • Italy, Sept. 1976
  • Korea - Tree Incident, Aug.-Sept. 1976 (1)-(2)

Box 8 - Janka Subject File

  • Mayaguez - GAO Report, July-Oct. 1976
  • Mexico, Aug.-Sept. 1976
  • Middle East, Feb.-Sept. 1976
  • National Security Council Sub-Groups, April 1976
  • Nuclear Proliferation, July 1976
  • Nuclear Weapons, Nov. 1975-Jan. 1976
  • Peru - Marcona Settlement, Sept. 1976
  • SALT, July-Sept. 1976
  • Security Assistance Legislation, May 1976
  • Soviet Union - Brazinskas Case, Sept. 1976
  • Taiwan, Sept. 1976
  • Turkish Arms Embargo, Sept. 1975
  • United Nations Genocide Convention
  • United States Military Strength, March 1976
  • Uranium
  • Vietnam, Feb.-Sept. 1976 (1)-(2)
  • Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), April-Sept. 1976

Box 8 (Continued) - Congressional Meetings File

  • Sept. 19, 1974 - Bipartisan Leaders (Aid to Turkey; CIA activities in Chile)
  • Jan. 28, 1975 - Bipartisan Leaders (Aid for Vietnam and Cambodia – includes memcon)
  • Mar. 5, 1975 - Members of Congress Who Visited Vietnam and Cambodia (Includes memcon)
  • May 14, 1975 - Bipartisan Leaders (Memcon - Mayaguez incident)
  • May 16, 1975 - Key Leaders (Executive agreements)
  • June 5, 1975 - Republican Leaders (Memcon - NATO, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey)
  • July 10, 1975 - Republican Leaders (Memcon - aid to Turkey)
  • Aug. 24, 1975 - Senator Mansfield (His round-the-world trip)
  • Sept. 4, 1975 - Bipartisan Leaders (Memcon - Middle East agreement)
  • Sept. 24, 1975 - Republican Leaders (Memcon - arms embargo on Turkey, Sinai agreement, handling of intelligence material by Congress)
  • Sept. 25, 1975 - Bipartisan Leaders (Memcon - Turkey, Sinai agreement)
  • Dec. 10, 1975 - Republican Leaders (Memcon – President’s Trip to China, Indonesia, Philippines)
  • Jan. 26, 1976 - House Select Committee on MIAs (Memcon)
  • Mar. 8, 1976 - House Budget Committee (Memcon - defense budget)
  • Mar. 10, 1976 - Senate Budget Committee (Memcon - defense budget)
  • Mar. 24, 1976 - Bipartisan Group of Senators (Memcon - defense)
  • Apr. 7, 1976 - Bipartisan Leaders (Memcon - Turkish bases, Lebanon, security assistance)
  • June 3, 1976 - Signing Ceremony for S. 2679 (Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe)
  • June 23, 1976 - Republican Leaders (Transition quarter funding for Israel)